5GData CenterInterviews

How 5G will impact the current data center ecosystem

In a recent conversation with CXOToday, Mr.Manoj Paul, Managing director, Equinix India discusses about data centers being given the infrastructure and the continued demand, the data center capacity is expected to double by 2023. When it comes to data centres and managing the enormous data mine that India owns, India has always been ahead of the curve. Cloud, digitization, industry 4.0, and IoT adoption was already well underway.

The advent of 5G has now become a catalyst for data centers and the right infrastructure to support 5G. For this to be successful, the current data centers will have to upgrade to accommodate edge computing and 5G. The infrastructure will have to be agile, and should be able to recover from any possible disaster. To support the shorter frequencies of 5G compared to 4G, infrastructure should be smaller cells, and the trend of giant data centers in some regions will give way to smaller but more data centres.

Experts suggest that edge data centres will be essential to the growth and usage of 5G services as well, which is required for Internet of Things (IoT), gaming, etc. Edge data centres are often smaller data centres positioned near the end-user network’s edge. They frequently connect to a larger central data centre or a number of data centres.

How 5G will impact the current data center ecosystem?

Data at the edge is expanding as 5G and IoT technologies take off, propelling a $43.4 billion worldwide edge computing market by 2027. There is a lot of movement by service providers and enterprises to locate their latency-sensitive data services at digital edge, close to supporting systems, applications, and hosting them on both private and public clouds. This has been furthered by 5G rollout and there is an immense competition and need for advantage through expanded reach and interconnection with partners. Like mobile internet and mobile video, the advent of 5G technology will usher in new applications that take advantage of low latency and high throughput. These new applications, such as metaverse, web3, have pushed data center providers to focus on edge capabilities to provide low latency access to data anywhere, at any time, which is critical to supporting the transition to 5G.

For Equinix, making 5G a reality begins with leveraging existing infrastructure footprint and capabilities, while identifying and planning for future use cases that can benefit in a meaningful way derived from potential expansion of neutral and multi-tenant physical infrastructure deployments farther out to the edge. We believe that data center and physical infrastructure for 5G should be modern, scalable, flexible, interconnected, neutral and multi-tenant. We see our role as enabling and driving the operational integration. Our Dallas-based 5G and Edge Technology Development Center (5G ETDC) provides an agile framework for assessing, incubating and testing new 5G deployments for real-world implementations today and exploring what will be possible in a 5G-dominated future. We also support service providers and enterprises to establish the digital infrastructure necessary to support the high-throughput, low-latency applications and services.

Equinix is uniquely positioned to help our NSP partners take full advantage of the possibilities of 5G technology. Our global network of Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers are located within a 10 ms round trip of 80% of the population of the U.S. and the E.U., with similar levels of coverage in parts of the Asia-Pacific region.


Equinix’s global expertise in the edge ecosystem and how the learnings can be applied for the rollout in India?

Our 5G and Edge Technology Development Center (5G ETDC) in the US provides an agile framework for assessing, incubating and testing new 5G deployments for real-world implementations today and exploring what will be possible in a 5G-dominated future. We help service providers and enterprise customers alike establish the digital infrastructure necessary to support the high-throughput, low-latency applications and services.

We work with key players throughout the 5G and edge ecosystems to develop a comprehensive, integrated approach to all interconnected edge domains. Two examples of how we’ve collaborated with community members are initiatives with Nokia and Exium.

Working with Nokia, we realized that there was going to be a sea change in the way that traffic moved between networks around the world. Both 3G and 4G have fronthaul and backhaul but with 5G there’s the addition of midhaul. As a result, the Macro Edge—where our data centers exist—now plays a crucial role in how traffic moves. We’ve collaborated with Nokia at the 5G ETDC to explore the role that data centers play in 5G, while strategizing about how Equinix fits into a 5G-dominated wireless world.

With an Equinix-based approach, an MNO can preserve its control plane and continue to use current assets in existing mobile switching centers. Mobile operators do not need to lift and shift any physical equipment into Equinix. Instead, they can leverage interconnection on Platform Equinix to put 5G infrastructure in the right place to achieve end-to-end network slicing enabled by standalone 5G equipment.

5G is a major opportunity for MNOs and enterprises as increasing digitalization drives applications and decision making to the edge. Working with Exium, we have demonstrated the role that 5G and the Macro Edge can play in this transformation. Exium is a 5G cybersecurity and networking company that offers a fundamentally different approach to digitalization by providing cloud-delivered, full-stack security with networking to connect and protect apps, data, devices and users across a global business fabric. This includes a Secure Edge platform that is highly performant, works with Wi-Fi, 4G, & 5G, and secures both edge devices and applications. By deploying Exium’s Secure Edge platform at Equinix’s data centers (the Macro Edge), customers combine the best aspects of being “on prem” (performance) and in the cloud (aggregation). This cloud agnostic edge can then be connected to any cloud via Equinix Fabric to create a hybrid multicloud environment.


What are the new trends and challenges to watch out for 2022 data center ecosystem?

To improve IT agility and save costs, enterprise workloads will continue to transition from centralized to distributed processing and from traditional physical resources to virtualized environments. To deploy 5G, network providers will need to rely on network automation and software-defined capabilities to ensure dependable connectivity at more points throughout the network.

Hybrid multicloud will become the standard architecture for application modernization and infrastructure service delivery as the flexibility of the architecture creates great opportunities for businesses to grow. This however also poses new issues such as programmable infrastructure, transparent asset management, and cost predictability. Due to infrastructural and application demands by organizations to maintain operational self-resilience, AI and ML will become more sophisticated in the next years.

Metaverse is another advanced technology to watch out for. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the worldwide metaverse revenue opportunity will grow to $800 billion in 2024, up from over $500 billion in 2020. India will be a crucial market for metaverse, with huge potential, but it will need to be backed up by secure, dependable, and scalable solutions. Metaverse is here to stay and prosper, as it has a strong foothold in the creator ecosystem, and with smartphones anticipated to reach 1 billion people in the next four years. The metaverse is a future technology that we won’t be able to implement using today’s IT infrastructure. Enterprises won’t be able to realize the metaverse’s full potential until they break free from the existing IT paradigm and replace it with a new one. Access networks of telcos also need to gear up to support metaverse applications.

With continued technological integration and increased hybrid cloud and digital innovation, there will be a need for increased cybersecurity measures as well. Other trend we see a big focus is green energy. Green initiatives have become a cornerstone of success in both public and private companies around the world. Sustainability is driving digital infrastructure innovation that spans corporate policy and operations all the way to end-to-end supply chains.

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